Lavarnway: Good hitter, even better house guest

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Lavarnway: Good hitter, even better house guest

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

On Tuesday night rookie catcher Ryan Lavarnway powered the Boston Red Sox to a crucial 8-7 win over the Baltimore Orioles with two homeruns and four RBIs.

But before he was driving an entire team to victory, Lavarnway played a role in one of his teammates success this season.

Lavarnway didnt know Josh Reddick very well when he was called up to the Pawtucket Red Sox from the Portland Sea Dogs in June.

When he asked around the clubhouse about taking a trip back up to Portland to retrieve the rest of his belongings following a day game, Reddick said he was already planning on driving up to Maine that night and agreed to give Lavarnway a ride.

That afternoon Lavarnway batted 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored; Reddick hit 1-for-3 with a double as well.

As Lavarnway looked to get settled into his new surroundings in Pawtucket, Reddick offered he could stay at his place until he found a spot to live. Both players were pursuing the next steps in their careers -- Lavarnway was getting adjusted to Triple-A baseball and Reddick was fighting to make it back to the Boston Red Sox.

A few days later, Lavarnway and Reddick each hit a pair of homeruns and drove in four runs apiece in an 8-3 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Erring on the side of superstition, Reddick extended his hospitality.

We both hit two homers in the same game, Lavarnway recalled. He was like, Alright, you cant move out now.'

I think he got called up here (to the Red Sox) a couple days later and was hitting .300.

Lavarnway ended up living at Reddicks place in Pawtucket (and taking cared of his dog) while Reddick spent the rest of the season in Boston. A few months later, Lavarnway joined him on the Red Sox, where he played an integral role in Tuesdays must-win game.

In this game where theres only 25 spots on the roster, even if you dont play the same position, as much as were teammates in the minor leagues, everyones kind of competing with each other, said Lavarnway. The fact that we hadnt really met before and he was being so nice to me, you dont really expect that.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

BOSTON -- Of course, the Rangers' Mike Napoli didn't mind the idea of replacing David Ortiz. He loved playing in Boston.

There just was never much chatter that way last offseason, when Napoli was a free agent after his Indians took the Cubs to seven games in the World Series.

"I think my agent had maybe a small talk or something [with the Red Sox], but I don't think it ever would have happened," Napoli said Tuesday afternoon as he returned to Fenway Park with Texas. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I would have loved to come back. But, I mean, it all worked out. I'm glad to be where I'm at now. Because I knew everybody here [with the Rangers]. I didn't have to start over again."

Napoli played with the Rangers in 2011 and '12, and was traded by the Sox to Texas for the last few months of the 2015 season.

He was hopeful the Sox -- his team from 2013 to midseason 2015 -- would be among the clubs to come calling last winter.

"Oh, yeah," he said.

But he wasn't optimistic it was going to happen. And it didn't.

"To be honest with you . . . Cleveland was my first priority," he said. "I just had a World Series run [with the Indians] and we didn't win it. And then Texas was there [in the bidding, along with] Minnesota."

The Rangers wound up giving Napoli, 35, a one-year deal for 8.5 million with an $11 million club option for next season or a $2.5 million buyout. He's hitting just .188 entering Tuesday, a subpar figure, but has 10 home runs.

"We started off pretty slow, but winning 10 straight will help," Napoli said of the Rangers' recent tear. "[Winning] 11 of 12, we've been playing better. I think we kind of lost track of who we are. We got some guys struggling, still trying to find themselves and kind of got away from doing it together as a team, but we got back to doing that. It's been going pretty well."

Part of the World Series championship team of four years ago, Napoli loved being in Boston in 2013, and he enjoys being back now.

"What we were able to do in 2013, obviously, it's something I'l never forget and something I cherish," Napoli said. "I love coming back here to play."

When it was noted there's been so much turmoil since Napoli left -- the talk of Tuesday was manager John Farrell's job security -- he was unsurprised.

"You got to have thick skin to play here," Napoli said. "You're expected to win a championship every single year. But that's what I loved about playing here, is that people were on you. For me, I loved it. A lot of people probably couldn't do it.

"I knew it in my heart that I went out there and I played as hard as I possibly could every single time . . . I know you're not going to be perfect and live up to everyone."

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

BOSTON -- On the list of Red Sox problems, finding a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base isn't high on the list. But the others -- third base, fifth starter -- aren't solvable at the moment, so the Sox turned to one they think they can solve.

Today they recalled Sam Travis from Pawtucket, most likely to provide relief for Moreland against left-handed pitching. Travis' path to the majors was delayed by a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of the 2016 season -- otherwise, odds are good he'd have been here by now -- but he signaled his readiness by recovering from a 5-for-36 start with a sizzling .344 average in 90 at-bats since April 22 that includes six doubles and three home runs. His OPS in that span is .909.

Most importantly, Travis crushes left-handed pitching. He's hit .358 (93-for-260) against them in his professional career, and is .414 (12-for-29) against them this year. 

Hector Velázquez was sent back to the PawSox to make room for Travis, ensuring another roster move later this week. After Kyle Kendrick's failed attempt to take control of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Velázquez was called up and given a shot in Oakland last Thursday night. He allowed six earned runs over five innings, failing the test. And thus the search for a fifth starter -- at least until David Price returns -- continues.

Price will make a rehab start in Pawtucket tomorrow and could return to Boston after that, but the Sox will need a pitcher for Saturday's game against Seattle. Even if Price is cleared to return to Boston, he won't be able to pitch Saturday on two days' rest.